"You look tired, don't you?", "Where are you from? Really.", "Did you come alone again?" small phrases that have a big impact.
Attacks on our appearances, our origins and our love lives are all phrases that hurt, yet they are nesting everywhere and can come out of anyone’s mouth. And I mean anyone. Victims of our prejudices (unconscious or not) or of our habits, have we never, ourselves, uttered these sentences that kill? Whether it’s out of clumsiness or by cruelty, we are all likely one day to be the rude person who makes other people feel awkward.
But beware, because even if we are talking about microaggressions, their impact is maximum! Because microaggressions are not a frontal attack, they are underhanded, sometimes they don't even seem to want to hurt us. It is therefore directly classified in the passive-aggressive attitudes. It is impossible to enter into an open conflict with someone who seems to be "just" making a point or asking a question.
>>> This article may help you: 10 signs to recognize a passive-aggressive behavior
Once is fine, twice is too much
It's like many things, the phrase that hurts only really hurts when it becomes systematic and/or repetitive. If someone makes a remark like "you like to eat, don't you!" or "you're still single, should you make more effort?" Well, it turns out that when faced with a remark one can handle, or even excuse, the person they are talking to. Faced with the same remark repeated by the same interlocutor or by various people, the effect will of course be worsened with at the key, anger, irritation, feeling of being hurt, but also loss of self-confidence, feeling of inferiority, etc.
💀 How should you reply to these hurtful remarks?
What about an answer that lacks subtlety? Perhaps. Nevertheless, an answer that slams and has the right tone is perhaps necessary. But I have to admit that not all of us are capable of formulating this type of response when we feel attacked by a sentence or a question. In order to react properly, we need to know whether we are dealing with a perfidious person who is trying to hurt us or simply with an awkward person. The ideal is, in both cases, to avoid conflict. Therefore, one can use humor or question their interlocutor.
➡ Faced with a sneaky remark, if for example during a meal someone asks you, "are you sure you want a refill?" you can turn the situation around by asking them why they are asking you this question, is it because you think I am fat? Is it because you think I should watch my weight? You don't even necessarily need to go into detail, but simply by asking the other person about their remark, you force them to face their prejudices.
How to avoid badly reacting to these phrases?
As mom often told us, it’s best to bite your tongue before speaking and also to ask yourself questions. Think to yourself; when I make certain remarks or ask questions, what am I looking for? Do I want to hurt the other person? Do I want to be nice? But in this case, am I not being clumsy, offensive? Why do I say what I say, am I driven by a prejudice? These questions are intended to help us fight against prejudice, since it is the culprit in this type of microaggression. We must try to understand how violent it is to assign a person to our own prejudices.
Note: In a relationship, during moments of tension, we should avoid throwing this type of hurtful phrases around, such as: "you're just like your mother" or "I understand why your ex left you", which in fact only aim at sparking arguments, let's admit it. In general, with positive communication, you get much better results!
⛔ With all this, we say to ourselves that the spontaneity of the exchanges can be seriously affected, so we just have to remember that everyone makes blunders, so it is better to apologize, learn from them and move on. And then, playing devil's advocate, we can also think that the world is full of people we don't care about hurting, because we want to keep our freedom of tone. It's audible, just be careful and ensure that you are perfect beforehand.
The opinion of the editors: Verbalize your feelings
Don't hesitate to express your feelings in order to make the other person understand that their remark has hurt you. Your interlocutor is not necessarily aware of it. And if you are hurt too often, then it is time to contact a coach to understand where this discomfort comes from and how to better face these situations.
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